Running time: 95 min
Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson (as Leonard Abrahamson)
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender & Maggie Gyllenhaal
Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.
Song writer and musician Jon (Gleeson) sees a promotional poster for an up-coming concert by a band that has an unprounceable name. From a chance meeting, Jon ends up playing keyboards at the gig where he meets the band.
Due to the impression he has made, Jon is invited to the band’s Irish hideaway (all on a false pretense) where he spends a large chunk of his time mingling with the band mate and lead performer Frank – a man who has an oversized paper-maché head with holes cut out for his ears and mouth.
During his time with the band, Jon will discover the true meaning of music as Frank and the band experiment in incalculable ways to make their own unique music.
Domhnall Gleeson is perfect as the young and very innocent Jon, who seeks the dizzying heights of musical stardom. Fellow bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) plays a very psychotic instrumentalist who has her unique brand of music and woe betide anyone who differs. Whilst Clara and Jon clearly do not see eye to eye, it is left to Frank to steer the band to greatness.
This would be true except that the music they create and perform would be compared to Pink Floyd’s worst nightmare. It is neither inspiring nor comic. The whole film centres around the persona of Frank; a character who speaks very softly and who has had difficulties that clearly have not been resolved.
The film tries to be a comic caper backed by an experimental soundtrack, however these are the two main flaws of the script and sadly neither of them really pay off except for perhaps the last ten minutes of the film.
Frank is not a biopic of the character Frank Sidebottom (who was brought to life by British Comic Chris Sievey), but a story inspired by a newspaper article. Instead, what has been created is a below par comedy that is a very poor imitation of Spinal Tap!
The similarities are glaringly obvious throughout the film, indeed one of the characters is nearly electrocuted on stage in the first few minutes of the film! The laughs are virtually non-existent bar a few minor chuckles. Though Frank constantly wears his oversized head, this means that Michael Fassbender needed to produce a performance to make the character work. There are perhaps one or two occasions where he does shine, but two out of 90 is barely worth mentioning.
For a comic character whose performer sadly died in 2010, this is but a pale imitation of the comic genius that the public loved.
2 out of 5 Nerds